"Have you ever been to the Whistle Stop Café?"
"Does the name Idgie Threadgood ring a bell? You’d remember her."
Combine tales of the South and a desperate housewife in the nineties and you have "Fried Green
Tomatoes." Based on Whistle Stop Cafe, a best-selling novel by Fannie Flagg and directed by Joe
Avnet, "Fried Green Tomatoes" is about loss, friendship and female empowerment.
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you to your seat.
"Fried Green Tomatoes" is a drama about an elderly woman, Ninny, played by Jessica Tandy, who
shares stories of wild-child Idgie Threadgood (“I don’t know what’s worse, church or jail.”) and willful
Ruth (“Don’t you say never to me.”)
The stories are raw and emotional. When Idgie’s beloved brother is struck by a train your heart
“Everyone thought Idgie would die right along with him,” Ninny narrates. “A heart can be broken but
still keeps beating just the same.”
Casting female ensembles was a rare trend in the nineties, one few filmmakers followed. The approach
works in "Fried Green Tomatoes". Ninny’s stories provide enough character development to captivate
you before returning to the present.
Evelyn Couch, Ninny’s visitor played by Kathy Bates, carries a realistic subplot as a woman trying to
salvage a dysfunctional marriage. She is empowered by tales of the past and infuses what she has
learned into her own life. When two young women steal her parking place she rams into their car.
“Face it,” she says. “I’m older and I have more insurance.”
That’s something Idgie would have done.
Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary Louise Parker’s performances as Idgie and Ruth are delightfully
effective and engrossing. You emphasize for them as their friendship develops and they endure
heartbreaking and tumultuous struggles. Also, transitions that take place between their characters
and those of the present are virtually seamless.
Fables are woven into the storyline, something you rarely see in movies pertaining to the South. They
lend a poetic quality to the film. Buddy, Idgie’s brother, tells her about how God puts a grain of sand
into an oyster and turns it into a beautiful pearl.
I would like to have seen Evelyn use one of those fables later on in the film. That would have been a
What viewers take away from "Fried Green Tomatoes" is that friendship conquers all. It supports and
empowers us even at the worst of times and it can be found in the most unlikely places.
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me share my fried green tomatoes with you. They’re quite tasty.
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